Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Renewable Energy Law News - Week of April 23

Photo via Flickr

MONTPELIER, Vt — Demonstrating the size and diversity of Vermont’s renewable energy economy, more than 100 businesses that work in the renewable energy industry are urging legislative action before the session closes on a package of clean energy legislation.

In a letter led by Renewable Energy Vermont to Governor Peter Shumlin, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, and lawmakers, the businesses urged passage of five House-passed, bipartisan bills, stating that “our industry is growing and it is strong,” but “to remain competitive, we need to continue to foster a strong local industry.”

The letter continued, “Vermont has worked hard to develop our in-state, clean energy economy. Now is not the time to let this effort slide, letting the wave of the future move on to other states and countries. Predictability and pro-growth policies are vital to our continued success.”

Tennessee solar tax bill dead for this session

Tennessee - A controversial bill on the taxation of solar installations will go to a summer study committee, effectively killing the bill for this session, with proponents opting to regroup on a complex debate.

The Comptroller of the Treasury’s Office, which had initiated the legislation, made the announcement this afternoon. Jason Mumpower, the comptroller's chief of staff, said proponents decided to delay the issue for study, rather than try to ram it through in the last days of session with so many questions lingering.

"While there has been a good discussion during this session about how solar businesses should be assessed, it is not advisable to seek a quick resolution of the concerns that have been raised during the session's waning days," Mumpower said in a statement.

Arizona Governor signs two new solar energy friendly bills into law this week

Arizona is set to become friendlier to solar energy as Governor Jan Brewer signs two new legislations into law this week. The state boasts of a large amount of solar energy capacity that has, until very recently, been untapped. Solar energy advocates have been working to promote the power for several years, but initiatives to progress the alternative energy have long been stunted by legislative complications. This week, however, Governor Brewer signed two solar-friendly bills into law that could make Arizona one of the leaders in solar power.

The first is House Bill 2830, which removes the 2013 deadline for schools to install their own solar energy systems. The initial deadline was criticized because many felt that it presented an unfair problem for Arizona’s numerous school districts. These districts have been working to become more energy efficient and adopt alternative energy systems. This has been somewhat complicated, especially in regards to solar power, because of the expensive nature of these systems. Districts will now be allowed more time to adopt solar energy systems.

The second is Senate Bill 1229. This legislation clarifies a problem concerning the sale of Renewable Energy Credits. Since the program was introduced in 2001, it has been the subject of controversy. Concerns regarding whether sales tax can be imposed on the Renewable Energy Credits has been the crux of several legislative battles. That will no longer be the case, however, as the legislation frees Renewable Energy Credits from sales tax. The legislation also declares that Arizona residents are only liable for paying sales tax on energy they purchase from the state’s energy grid, not electricity they do not purchase from the grid.

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